China funding Zim diamond plunder with guns
source: SW Radio Africa
By Alex Bell
21 September 2010
A top secret deal between Robert Mugabe and China’s ‘Red Army’ is reportedly keeping the regime in power, in an ‘arms-for-diamonds’ arrangement that is driving the plunder of the Chiadzwa diamond fields.
The UK’s Daily Mail reported over the weekend how the deal made by Mugabe’s loyal security forces and the equally notorious Chinese People’s Liberation Army, has resulted in millions of dollars worth of industrial diamonds being mined and airlifted to China. The stones, which are not pure enough for commercial sale, are flown directly out of Chiadzwa where an airstrip was built last year. And in return, Zimbabwe’s military is given weapons to keep propping up Mugabe’s regime.
The Mail reports that the company given the rights to the diamond fields, Mbada Mining, is fronted by Mugabe’s trusted former personal helicopter pilot, with Chinese military officials as silent partners. According to documents in the Mail’s possession, the pilot, Robert Mhlanga, was personally appointed by Mugabe, with Chinese partners named as Deng Hongyan, Zhang Shibin, Zhang Hui, Jiang Zhaoyao and Cheng Qins.
“With military camps set up around the perimeter, and three separate fences erected to keep out smugglers and spies, local villagers told me appalling stories of [continue reading]